Saving a melon is not an easy task. But it is in fresh form that fruits have the greatest amount of useful substances, in contrast to a processed product.
Put in boxes
You can store melons in wooden boxes filled with clean, dry sand or sawdust. In this case, the fruits should be placed vertically. It is important that after falling asleep with sand, the stalk remains on the surface. In addition, the fruits should not touch each other or the walls of the box. Do not close the lid of the drawer tightly to maintain air circulation.
Vegetables must not be washed before storing them. Otherwise, they will deteriorate faster. Various types of damage are also unacceptable.
In the store itself, certain conditions must be supported:
- temperature from +3 to +10 ° C;
- relative humidity in the region of 85-90%:
- good ventilation so that the air does not stagnate;
- if possible, complete absence of light.
In addition, if there are other vegetables and fruits in the cellar, then they should be placed further away so that the melons do not absorb extraneous odors. The fruit should be inspected regularly. If rotten melon is found, it must be thrown away urgently before it infects the rest of the fruit.
Hang on poles
Melons are well kept hanging in normal nets. They can be simple, woven from dry twigs or bark, rag bags or string bags are also suitable.
The main condition for such storage is that the fruits should not touch each other or other objects. This can be done using, for example, a pole, which should be fixed horizontally at a short distance from the wall and hang nets with melons on it.
A properly performed freezing also allows you to preserve the beneficial properties. In this case, the shelf life depends on the temperature. So, for example, at -5 ° C, a vegetable will last for 2 weeks, and at -16 ° C, freshness will last up to 12 weeks.
Before starting the freezing process, the melon must be washed and dried. Then cut into pieces of medium thickness, while the peel should not be removed. Also, the fruits will be stored well in the form of mashed potatoes. It remains only to fold the sweet mass in portions into a bag that can be tightly closed, or an airtight container and put into the freezer.
Do not put the whole melon in one container, since the product cannot be re-frozen.
Cover with paraffin or wax
Another way is to use wax or paraffin wax. At the same time, the fruits themselves must be selected without damage and with a thick crust.
To begin with, you need to melt a large amount of wax or paraffin. Then pour the melted substance over each melon liberally. The wax layer should be at least 1 cm. Allow to harden and store in a cool dark place.
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Like every cultivated plant, melons have many varieties that differ in terms of growing season. They can be roughly divided into early, middle and late.
Only late varieties can last until the New Year. Even the mid-late ones, those that are grown under film shelters, do not have such keeping quality. The register of varieties contains 144 varieties, and, unfortunately, only 4 varieties can please you on the New Year's holiday:
- Bravura - marketable qualities are stored for 40-60 days.
- Wintering - breeders guarantee safety for 3-3.5 months.
- Chiano - good for consumption up to 85 days after picking the fruit.
- Habalon - 3-kg fruits of excellent taste will lie for 80-90 days without loss of quality.
Do you know that…
Greenhouse melons were grown near Moscow as early as the 16th century. The then breeders achieved significant success. Foreign travelers noted in their notes that Moscow melons are larger and better than anywhere else.
Is it possible to keep the melon fresh until the New Year
To preserve the melon until the holidays, and then please guests and households, take the time to choose the right fruit. Consider which varieties are suitable for wintering and how long each is stored.
Which varieties are suitable for long-term storage
there is three types of varieties:
- Early... The maximum shelf life is up to a month. Then the melon loses its taste and appearance. This is best eaten within 2-3 weeks.
- Mid-season - stored for 3-4 months. It is also worth watching the appearance, do not overexpose, otherwise you will get a spoiled product.
- Late - stored for up to six months with proper storage.
Such terms are valid only when stored in cellars or basements!
For "wintering" choose late melon varieties... These include:
- Golden (on the picture). The crop is harvested no earlier than 90 days from the first shoots. The fruits are round or oval in shape, the skin is bright yellow, the skin is smooth. It has a pronounced aroma, soft, juicy and pleasant to the taste. Shows high resistance to diseases, insects, sudden temperature changes.
- Wintering... Ripen after 95 days from the first shoots. The shape is oval, the peel is yellow-green with a large mesh, the flesh is greenish, juicy and tender. Weight within 2-3 kg. Drought and disease resistant.
- Torpedo. Ripening time - from 100 to 113 days. It has an oblong shape, rich taste and aroma, yellow peel. Thanks to the mesh on the surface of the fruit, resistance to hot weather conditions and diseases increases. Weight reaches from 4 to 7 kg.
- A pineapple... It is grown only in hotbeds or greenhouses, as it does not have frost resistance. Ripens in 95 days. Oval, elongated shape. Orange peel, convex mesh. The mass reaches 2-3 kg. Incredibly juicy and aromatic. It tastes like pineapple, which is consistent with the name. The variety is resistant to disease.
How to choose fruits
Do not grab what first came to hand. Choose carefully: inspect, feel, check for defects.
Signs to watch out for:
- the number of cracks on the peel (the less the better) - indicates that the berry is unripe
- Melon "nose" elastic
- the skin has a greenish tint - the melon has a chance to survive until the New Year
- no damage to the fetus (dents, cracks, dents)
- pronounced aroma.
If you grow melons yourself, remove them a week before full ripeness. Leave the stalk at least 3 cm long. It is better not to cut the fruit, but to pluck it.
How to prepare?
In the republics where the cultivation of melons on an industrial scale is a national tradition, they have come up with a number of ways to harvest these fragrant fruits. Melons are used to make honey, preserves, and jam. In addition, they can be dried and dried.
For making jam select fruits with a thick layer of pulp, wash them and remove the skin 1.5 mm thick. The pulp is cut into cubes, covered with sugar and cooled for 2 hours. Then you should boil the syrup, pour over the diced melon and put it on the fire. It is recommended to cook in 2-3 doses.
- For 1 kg of melon pulp prepared for cooking, take 1200 g of sugar.
- Ten liter jars of jam will require 5 kg 160 g of peeled fruits, 4140 g of sugar, 25-30 g of citric acid and 0.3 g of vanillin.
For making jam melon is prepared in the same way as for jam. In this case, 1.5 kg of sugar will be required per kilogram of peeled melon pulp. Pre-cut pieces should be blanched in 10% sugar syrup for 10-15 minutes. The recommended proportion is 50 g of sugar per liter of water. Then add sugar and boil the mass until cooked.
For a brighter aroma, citric acid can be added in the middle of the cooking process, and vanillin can be added before packing. Hot ready-made jam is laid out in dry, pre-calcined jars, which are rolled up with tin lids and left to cool completely, covered with a blanket.
Gathering a large harvest of melons is most typical for the southern regions with a warm climate. However, residents of more northern regions can also prepare jam from these fragrant fruits - simply in order to diversify their winter diet with an unusual delicacy.
How to store melon at home: the best ways to keep whole and cut fruit
Unlike many horticultural crops, which after harvesting can be stored for a long time even at home, the melon quickly deteriorates. It is quite possible to save the “queen of melon” until the New Year, the main thing is to choose the right fruit. In order for the melon to lie for a long time and not spoil, it is necessary to buy late-ripening or so-called winter varieties. Their keeping quality is quite high, and under optimal conditions, the fruits can be stored from 4 months to six months. In addition, some varieties are specially left for several weeks or even months in order for the fruits to ripen and acquire their characteristic taste and rich aroma.
- Gulabi. The melons of this variety are oblong-ovoid, the surface is divided into weakly expressed longitudinal segments, the fruits are covered with a continuous net on a dirty yellow background. The pulp is white, firm and sweet, and its flavor becomes richer one month after harvest.
- Wintering. The surface of the yellow-green fruit is covered with a coarse continuous mesh. The melons are oval in shape, the flesh is light green, tender and juicy. The weight of each fruit is 1.5-2.5 kg.
- Canary yellow. Fruits are elongated oval with yellow rind. The weight of one melon does not exceed 2-2.5 kg, the sweet flesh is white.
- Kassaba. A variety of Asian melons, includes several winter varieties. They are characterized by a spherical, slightly flattened shape, a mastoid outgrowth and a smooth yellow or cream-colored rind. Cassaba varieties do not have a pronounced aroma, but their sweet and juicy pulp literally melts in your mouth. The fruits acquire their rich taste only 1-3 months after they are removed from the melon, so this option is great for long-term storage.
- Orange. Another group of varieties with excellent keeping quality. The peel of the fruit is colored in a characteristic yellow color, and the juicy, tasty pulp can be white or orange in color. The mass of one Asian melon can reach 7 kg, when grown in the central part of Russia, this figure is much more modest and is 2-2.5 kg.
- Slavia. Fruits are spherical, yellow-green, completely covered with a coarse mesh. The juicy pulp has a sweet taste and delicate aroma. The mass of one melon does not exceed 1.5-3 kg.
- Torpedo. The shape of the fruit is elongated, oblong-rounded, the peel is yellow, covered with a network of small cracks. The bright white pulp has a delicate pleasant aroma and excellent taste.
Unlike "winter" melons, the shelf life of early-ripening varieties without spoilage and loss of taste does not exceed 1 month from the date of collection, and mid-season ones - no more than 3 months, but their keeping quality strongly depends on compliance with many conditions.
Having decided on a variety suitable for long-term storage, you should take a closer look at the purchased fruits:
- Slightly unripe melons with a light, soft mesh covering no more than ½ of the skin surface are best. It is this indicator that testifies to the required degree of ripeness and good quality of the product.
- If the variety is not characterized by the presence of a grid on the surface of the peel, you need to focus on its color: the more intense the color, the more ripe the melon. Therefore, brightly colored fruits are not suitable for long-term storage.
- The nose of the fruit should be elastic, and if this is not the case, then the melon is already overripe. It is imperative that its surface is free of any damage: spots, dents or cracks. Any dark speck or microcrack will very quickly turn into a hotbed of rot and spoil the fruit.
When choosing melons, do not take too green, completely unripe specimens. Regardless of the shelf life, they will not reach the desired ripeness, but will remain herbaceous in taste or simply rot.